Bathroom Floor Tiling Project – Floor Vent

Yesterday, in our continuing review of our bathroom floor tiling project using SnapStone porcelain floor tiles, we discussed a few different aspects of the flexible grout.

Today I wanted to cover the approach taken with the floor vent.

This was the situation with the placement of the floor vent in the bathroom. As you can see in the picture below it is located very close to the wall just off to the side of the sink.

floor vent close to wall Bathroom Floor Tiling Project   Floor Vent

We made the decision to center as much as possible the floor tile over the vent. As you will see it was not exactly center. However, this decision meant that we would start with a full tile against the adjacent wall to leave a narrow piece of tile at the opposite end of the room.

We could have gone with the more typical approach to floor tiling; that being have the same width of tile at opposite ends of the floor. However, this would have meant a very narrow tile right by where the cut would be made for the floor vent. While these porcelain floor tiles are very strong, we were concerned that it might have weakened the tile leading to frequent cracks in the tile over time.

When it came to cutting the tile on top of the floor vent opening, Bennett did not cut first then lay the tile. Rather, he laid the tile, marking as you can see in the picture below, the opening needed for the floor vent.

markings for floor vent opening Bathroom Floor Tiling Project   Floor Vent

Then, once all the floor tile was laid and grouted, he returned in a few days to make the cut. As this was spring time, there was no issue with the central force air furnace being on very often and all that hot air heating up the underside of the tile covering the floor vent.

floor vent register installed into tile Bathroom Floor Tiling Project   Floor Vent

It took him no time at all (OK, it took him about 5 minutes) using a simple hand miter with a circular blade, followed by a shop vac to get the dust, to cut the opening for the floor vent’s register. The end product looks like it was a perfect fit, because it was.

bathroom floor vent register installed into floor tile Bathroom Floor Tiling Project   Floor Vent

Select this link to read about the approach taken to deal with the situation where the top of the floor tile was taller than the top of the carpet from the adjacent room. It is such a simple approach one has to wonder why everyone does not know about and use this method to leveling the height of floor coverings of adjacent rooms.

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  1. Michael Ireland says:

    Hey Dan,

    I’ve laid a fair bit of tile in the past, and I have used both methods of preparing the opening for the vent. I have generally had the best results using the method you outlined here, except I use a diamond blade on my chordless angle-grinder. It also helps to have a shop-vac running to pull the dust simultaneously. It gets a bit loud, but with all the right safety equipment and careful measuring and cutting, this method is by far the best.

    The only caveat is that a high-quality tile saw is much better at making smooth perfect cuts, so if you have very strong stone tiles, you may want to pre-cut for that laser-straight cut.

    Something I do now whenever I do a bathroom is replace the baseboards with a cut-down tile border. Depending on the size of your tile, you may choose to cut it in half, or to use a thinner portion (such as a third). With a very good tile saw, and some skill bevelling the edge that makes contact with the tile floor, you can have a very nice alternative to standard baseboards. A handy side-effect is the better moisture resistance.

    Finally, are you aware of any floor-vent check-valve type systems that allow air to blow outward, but prevent water from flowing down the vent in the event of a toilet overflow, or a child bathing enthusiastically? We recently had such an event that ended up causing damage to a guitar in the basement where the water dribbled from the hot air vent.

    Keep up the great home reno tips!!


  2. Dan says:

    Hi Mike,

    Your suggestion of using the shop-vac to pull the dust from making the cut in the tile is exactly what Bennett did; sadly, I was too late with the camera for that one! :)

    As for your last point re the check-valve system, I hvae not heard of this; however, having had more than one toilet overflow I can seeit being VERY useful. A shame about the guitar.


  3. Paul Smith says:

    Hey Dan,

    Thanks for covering this subject, I had a similar problem with a vent in my bathroom floor, so i was going to opt out of tiling the floor and sticking to a lino, but seeing this I thinnk ill go with the tiles.

  4. Dan says:

    Hi Paul,

    I’m glad our experiences helped you out, or at least gave you an idea of one possibility.


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